Travel

Aussie ski holidays: Howling good fun at Mount Baw Baw

Victorian ski resort Mount Baw Baw boasts great skiing and fun sled dog adventures
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Climbing the steep ascent to Mount Baw Baw through the gorgeous Victorian snow gum country, it’s hard to believe this sublime spot is just two and a half hours drive from busy Melbourne. Never skiers, my partner Rhett and I are keen for our first experience on the slopes – one to remember for a long time.

With a stunning landscape marked by huge glacial boulders, colourfully striped and twisted tree trunks, and a magical covering of snow, the lofty environment is just as postcard beautiful as you could wish for.

WATCH: New Idea meets the Howling Huskies on a Mt Baw Baw sled dog tour

A family-friendly resort, the dozens of tiny children we see effortlessly zipping around the slopes on their equally tiny skis is at once reassuring and worrying, as this highly inexperienced visitor contemplates the possibility of being shown up by a bunch of 5-year-olds!

But nothing ventured, nothing gained – and it’s time to finally hit those slopes. 

Skiing at Mount Baw Baw
From beginners to pros, Baw Baw has something for everyone. (Credit: Supplied)

The hills are alive

The resort boasts 35 hectares of terrain, and Mother Nature has really turned on the snow for our visit. On offer are 25 downhill runs, 10 kilometres of groomed terrain, cross-country trails, seven ski lifts, snow play areas, winter hiking and tobogganing – and the many families around us are absolutely loving it.  

After taking in the beautiful surrounds, we head back to our on-mountain accommodation – conveniently located within a very short walking distance to the slopes. The Altitude Apartments are a cosy and very comfortable option to rest, recuperate and warm up. 

I recommend packing ample snacks, drinks and nibbles to stock the cupboards throughout your visit, as on-site food shopping options are limited.

After settling in, we head down to Mount Baw Baw Village Store and Rentals to get fitted out by the friendly and helpful staff for our first time on skis.

Mount Baw Baw
These little kids aced it on the beginners’ slope … although Matt did fall on his bottom here! (Credit: Supplied / Mount Baw Baw)

First time on skis

The sun is soon out with a piercing blue sky, so we slap on the sunscreen and hobble off in our ski boots for our first lesson.

Our instructor couldn’t be more encouraging or patient as we join the toddlers on the beginners’ slope to learn the basics of skiing. We’re surprised at how fast we pick it up, and I’m the only one who ends up flat on my bottom – just the once – before it all starts to come very naturally. To book lessons, click here

But if skiing isn’t your thing, there’s the Frosti Frog Hollow Toboggan Park, and snowball fights – not a free-for-all, but a co-ordinated affair following International Yukigassen rules.

Tired but thrilled by our first afternoon on skis, we head back to the apartment for some rest before a delicious and hearty dinner at The Village restaurant. Make sure you’ve booked in advance as it is very popular. 

Howling huskies Mount Baw Baw
Most of Howling Huskies’ dogs are rescues from shelters, and they clearly love all the exercise and team spirit! (Credit: Supplied)

Howling huskies

The next day we head off to experience a very different way to enjoy the alpine environment. Howling Huskies offers a variety of different dog sled rides on Baw Baw, ranging from a brisk 15 minutes, to hours-long explorations of the surrounding bushland and slopes.

Most of the dogs have been rescued from animal shelters, and the company has a no-kill policy, so aged dogs and those who no longer wish to work are comfortably retired.

But there are no doubters on display among the husky team we meet – they can’t seem to get enough of their day job, howling with excitement and enthusiasm as we prepare for a run.

Getting in to the dog sled, we’re soon off for a rapid run through the forested landscape as we fly around corners and over bumps, stopping only for the dogs to enjoy the smells and a quick rest before we’re off again.

Arriving back at the base, we then get 15 minutes of cuddles with the huskies. 

Mount Baw Baw
Warragul the alpine dingo enjoyed a cuddle and a play with Rhett during a visit to the Dingo Resource Centre. (Credit: Matt Denby)

Meeting the locals

The canine fun didn’t end there. Heading back to the apartment, we stopped off to meet Mount Baw Baw’s resident dingoes, Rowdy and Warragul, at the Dingo Resource Centre.

Getting up very close and personal with Warragul, a beautiful pure alpine dingo female, we learnt all about an animal which has been much maligned down through the years.

While definitely not a domestic dog, and a creature to be respected at all times, Warragul is a friendly and gentle girl who enjoyed a lot of snuggle time with us, shattering stereotypes about Australia’s native dog in the process. The centre also offers more for nature lovers, including plenty of information on the critically endangered Baw Baw Frog.

WATCH: We meet Warragul, Mount Baw Baw’s pure alpine dingo  

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Missing you already!

Our weekend at Baw Baw coming to an end, we retired knowing we’ll return to the slopes again, hopefully sooner rather than later.

A fun destination for beginners, experts and families, Mount Baw Baw is the perfect weekend away, and only a stone’s throw from Melbourne. Can’t wait to come back!

Mount Baw Baw
Make sure you pack for the frosty weather, like Matt! (Credit: Matt Denby)

For more information on Mount Baw Baw, and to plan your visit, check out: mountbawbaw.com.au

Mount Baw Baw
There are seven ski lifts on offer at Mount Baw Baw – with the popular ski resort boasting 25 downhill runs. (Credit: Supplied)

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